The 2019 wheat harvest is well underway in South Dakota, with many acres of winter and much of the spring wheat crop left to harvest. To date, reports on yield and quality have been variable, depending on when the crop was seeded, weather conditions at important growth stages (such as flowering and grain fill) and disease pressure throughout the season.
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Is your corn developing spots? Corn fields have been found with what appears to be Holcus spot, a bacterial disease. Upon further investigations, the leaves were found to be negative for any plant pathogens.
Many locations in South Dakota have already received as much precipitation this year as they do in an entire average year. The latest climate outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center shows increased chances of wetter than average conditions to continue into the fall season.
While scouting fields last week, we observed small populations of soybean aphids near Volga, South Dakota. Although no sustained populations were observed, it is a good reminder that soybean aphid scouting should occur throughout the growing season to prevent population outbreaks.
Corn is starting to tassel in several locations across the state. This is also the growth stage when a fungicide may be applied to control fungal leaf diseases. Diseases currently starting to develop are: anthracnose leaf blight, common rust and eyespot.
An increasing number of farmers across the state of South Dakota have adopted different soil conservation practices such as no-till, conservation tillage and cover crops. Over time, these practices play significant roles in improving soil health and increasing soil resilience towards extreme weather conditions.
Consider pre-harvest herbicide applications in crop ground planted with small grains that are grown for seed or forage. Dense weed populations may inhibit harvest, therefore proper control of them early in the growing season is best.
A few corn fields scouted in Brookings County were found with Fusarium root rot at low levels. Infected plants were wilting and upon splitting of the lower nodes revealed brown discoloration of the pith. Root and crown rots developing in corn after the seedling stage are usually caused by Fusarium spp. and can be enhanced by injury to the roots or crown, mainly by insect feeding.
This week we observed some true armyworm caterpillars in winter wheat fields. The caterpillars were still relatively small, which means they will continue feeding for some time. So far, the true armyworm caterpillars were still feeding on the leaves of the nearly mature wheat, but they have the potential to also clip heads off of the plants.
Several soybean fields scouted the week of July 15, 2019 were found with bacterial blight developing. The frequent rains experienced in most soybean growing counties have led to the development of this disease. Bacterial blight affected leaves are most evident on younger leaves in the upper canopy.